I used to kill everything.
Let’s get something out in the open before you read any further.
I used to kill every living plant. I had the proverbial “black thumb of death.” I hated weeding and could care less about the names and varieties of plants.
I share about gardening, not because I am an expert and have wisdom to offer. Quite the opposite. I share because if I can do it - ANYONE can.
I think I always liked the idea of gardening.
I grew up in the South and my great aunts and grandparents all had gardens. My mom even kept a small garden when I was growing up. Maybe it made me feel connected to my heritage to have one, so our first garden was at our second home in Liberty, SC.
Chris borrowed a tiller from his dad, we tilled up the only flat part of our yard and I bought plants from the store. I grew cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. I watered it with a sprinkler for maybe the first month and picked vegetables a handful of times.
But I was in a season with three babies under the age of two. I’m not sure what my thinking was adding that to my already filled plate, but between the children and the vegetables something had to give. And you’ll be happy to know I chose to keep my children alive and let the garden die. Ha
I told myself after that failure of a garden, “I’m just not good at this. I don’t have a green thumb.”
Fast forward about 6 years later, I was living in a totally different state (Columbus, GA), in a house in a neighborhood right next to a car dealership that had such bright lights you couldn’t even see the stars at night. I randomly bought chickens one day at Tractor Supply and had them in the backyard and I longed for the country.
I grew up on 200 acres in Mississippi so country is in my blood. I felt stifled and wanted to have farm animals and grow a garden.
But dreams can only get you so far when your reality is anything but.
I started listening to gardening podcasts. I found them suddenly fascinating! How did I not know that plants were so unique and interesting. I heard about fermenting vegetables for the first time ever and I was blown away! You could get probiotics through vegetables?!
We ended up moving back to South Carolina and thought we would buy a house right away, but we were in an apartment for almost 5 months and that gave me a lot of time to dream and learn about gardening. I found YouTube to be such a great resource for my hungry appetite for information. I watched HOURS of gardening videos.
I placed my very first seed order. I was so excited, but also scared. Who was I to think I could grow things from seeds?! The girl who killed everything! But I had to try.
We bought a beautiful farmhouse in town in Abbeville, SC in March, just in time for gardening season!
I ordered some cheap grow lights off of amazon and started my seeds. I found some premade raised beds off of Facebook Marketplace and I filled those beds with bagged soil I bought from Dollar General. I wish I was kidding! Haha
But my garden grew! It was so exciting to see my seeds turn into plants and those plants produce actual food we enjoyed. I was hooked forever.
I am now on my 4th year of growing from seed and I am still hooked.
We purchased our new farmhouse on 14 acres a little over a year ago and we have made this garden literally from pasture. We laid down cardboard to kill the weeds, measured out paths and rows. Had a dumbstruck of soil delivered and used a wheelbarrow and shovel to create 10, 30 ft garden rows.
This is my first year to garden in ground. I’ve always used raised beds, so it’s been a new experience for me. But I am loving it!
Some days I think about the Courtney who started that garden that failed when her babies were small and I want to give her a big hug and say, “Honey, you’re not bad at gardening. You’re overwhelmed. It’s not your season. But you just wait.” If that Courtney could see what all we’ve grown, she wouldn’t say those negative things about herself!
If you gain anything from reading this story, I hope that its this - maybe you’re not bad at something, maybe it’s just not your season. Or maybe you just need to learn how to do it. So much of life is about learned skills, not giftedness.
If I can grow a garden, there’s no telling what you are capable of!